It’s incredibly beneficial to up the intake of healthy fats in order to regulate hormones, speed weight loss and lower inflammation. Fat does not raise the stress hormone cortisol, which increases blood sugar and can suppress the immune system. Fat has a low impact on insulin levels when compared to protein and carbohydrates. Our brains and bodies perform optimally when we have enough Omega 3’s (essential fats) since these foods lower inflammation. We cannot produce these so we must consume foods high in Omega 3’s to experience the benefits.
Good vs. Bad Fats:
Found in plants like nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and seafood. These types of fats have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and cholesterol. Omega 3 unsaturated fats like wild caught fish, whole eggs and flax/chia seeds are the best for the body since they have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Found in animal foods, like meat and butter, as well as coconut and palm oil. Often deemed unhealthy, but this has been proven wrong. Saturated fat is critical for cardiovascular health. This healthy fat reduces the levels of a substance called lipoprotein that correlates strongly with risk for heart disease. Research has shown that when women diet, those eating the greatest percentage of the total fat in their diets as saturated fat, lose the most weight.
Found in fried foods, baked goods, and processed snack foods. These fats cause serious inflammation in the body, which is linked to a majority of chronic diseases. These are the fats to stay away from.
Regulating hormones with healthy fat and powerful antioxidants:
Weight loss occurs when there is proper production of leptin “master weight control” hormone. When inflammation is high in the body it reduces hormone responsiveness. One hormone the body loses responsiveness to is leptin. The release of leptin under normal circumstances will tell the brain that you are full. But with resistance to leptin (that comes from high inflammation), the brain never gets a signal to stop craving food which can lead to weight gain. We can address this issue head on by increasing healthy fats that like avocados that promote leptin response.
These powerful anti-inflammatory foods will also slow down the aging process and improve complexion. I am not giving up on my face cream that claims the fountain of youth, but the best results are straight from the source. In addition to healthy fats, foods high in antioxidants like vegetables and berries contribute to this anti-inflammatory effect. Observational studies have shown an inverse association between dietary total antioxidant capacity, carotenoids and vitamins, and markers of inflammation.
“Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects,” says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. Foods high in natural antioxidants and polyphenol (protective compounds found in plants) will significantly lower inflammation in the body. On the other hand, processed meats, refined carbohydrates and all fried foods will increase inflammation in the body. In addition to lowering inflammation, a more natural, less processed diet can have noticeable effects on your physical and emotional health. “A healthy diet is beneficial not only for reducing the risk of chronic diseases, but also for improving mood and overall quality of life,” Dr. Hu says.
Healthy fats and powerful antioxidants to include in your nutritional regime:
- Wild Caught Salmon
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Pumpkin, sunflower, sesame seeds
- Raw nuts (almonds, walnuts, macadamia, cashews, pistachios, brazil nuts)
- Organic Greek Yogurt (full fat)
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Nut butters (almond, cashew- try to avoid peanut butter since it is high in toxins)
- Hard cheese
- Dark chocolate
- All vegetables